Indiana Negligence Law and Personal Injury

indiana negligence law

When you are injured in an accident, to win your case and recover compensation for the damages you have suffered, Indiana negligence law requires that you first establish fault. In other words, you must prove that another party acted negligently and that their negligence is what caused the accident and your injuries. 

Establishing fault is not easy. Even if it seems obvious which party was at fault, as the injured victim, you will carry the burden of proving fault, which is generally done by providing evidence to support your claim. A personal injury lawyer can help you gather this evidence and build a strong case to show that the other party is the one responsible for what happened. 

If you need help understanding Indiana negligence law and winning your case, the team at Poynter & Bucheri can assist you. Our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers have years of experience building strong cases for negligence and liability. We are dedicated to helping our clients win their cases and recover the compensation they deserve. 

How is Negligence Defined?

Negligence is a legal term used when determining whether or not one party owes another party a duty of care. If they did owe a duty of care and they breached this duty by causing the other party harm, then they can be charged with negligence and be held liable for what happened. 

For example, drivers have a duty of care, which means they must operate their vehicles with reasonable care so as not to harm others, such as other drivers or pedestrians. So if a driver speeds and this leads to an accident where others are injured, that driver will be charged with negligence and will thus be at fault for the accident. 

However, as stated above, part of Indiana negligence law includes establishing fault. So before the driver can be held liable, the party they injured will first have to file a claim and use evidence to prove that the driver was speeding and that this negligent action is specifically what caused the accident and injuries. This is where the four elements of negligence come into play.  

What Are the Four Elements of Negligence?

The four elements of negligence are the four things that the injured party must prove to hold the other party liable. These include:

  1. Duty of care:  The defendant (the party you are filing a claim against) owed you a duty of care.
  2. Breach of duty: The defendant breached their duty of care.
  3. Causation: The defendant’s negligence was the direct cause of the accident and your injuries.
  4. Damages: You suffered damages as a result of the accident and injuries. 

Indiana Negligence Law

It’s important to note that even if you establish fault by proving the above four elements of negligence, there is another part of Indiana negligence law that could play a role in your case.

Indiana uses a modified comparative fault system. This means that the damages you recover can be reduced based on your contribution to the accident. It also means that if a party is more than 51% at fault, they will be barred from recovering compensation.

For example, if a driver hit you because they ran a red light, but it is discovered that you were driving over the speed limit when they hit you, using the four elements of negligence, you will likely be able to prove that the other driver was primarily at fault for the accident. The driver who ran the red light could be assigned 70% of the fault. But because you were speeding, it’s decided that you were 30% at fault. 

You can still file a claim against the other party and recover damages, but the amount you are awarded will be reduced by 30%. If the initial award was $30,000, you would instead receive $21,000. 

This restriction of damages can be harsh in some cases, depending on the determined percentage of fault. It could mean that you don’t receive enough money to fully cover the cost of things like your medical expenses, property damage, or lost wages while recovering from your injuries. 

This is why it is important to work with a lawyer. Not only can an experienced lawyer help you build a strong case and gather sufficient evidence to prove the four elements of negligence, but they can also make sure the percentage of fault is determined fairly so you do not miss out on much-needed compensation to cover your damages. 

Consult an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer 

If you are injured in a car accident, or another incident involving negligence, such as medical malpractice, a lawyer for medical negligence or a car accident lawyer can help you file your claim and recover the compensation you deserve. 

At Poynter & Bucheri, our personal injury lawyers handle various negligence claims, from car accidents and medical malpractice to premises liability cases and pedestrian accidents. We are dedicated to helping all our clients pursue fair compensation for the damages they have suffered. 

Don’t hesitate — an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.